“Are you gonna wake up then, yeah? Yeah? Some real songs…”
Glastonbury festival, meet Liam Gallagher. The full gig footage from Oasis’ first ever appearance at Worthy Farm, way back in 1994, has just been uploaded to YouTube for the first time – watch it below – and offers something of a new insight into Liam, Noel and co pre-fame.
It’s not their best gig by any means, but it does show a band on the brink of greatness. Playing second on the bill at the NME Stage (now The Other Stage) early afternoon on Sunday, sandwiched between Echobelly and west Midlands’ Nirvana-sampling hip hop crew Credit To The Nation, the performance came at a weird time for Glastonbury. Channel 4 had started broadcasting live from the site that year (the first TV channel to do so), while the Pyramid Stage had actually burned down 11 days before it all kicked off. And kick off it did – five people were injured in a shooting on the Saturday night, and one man died (Glastonbury’s first death) of a drugs overdose during the weekend. The headliners that year? Peter Gabriel, Paul Weller, and The Levellers, while Pulp and Blur played on the same stage as Oasis later that day. What a line-up, eh?
To put the gig into context for Oasis, they’d only released two singles by this point (‘Shakermaker’ and ‘Supersonic’), and were still a month away from unleashing ‘Definitely Maybe‘ on the world. It’s likely that this was their first ever large-scale festival performance.
It’s so early on for them, in fact, that Noel’s not even doing any backing vocals. Instead, he has to walk over to Liam’s mic whenever he wants to address the crowd. Here’s nine other interesting points from the vid:
1). The alternative lyrics to ‘Shakermaker’. “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony / I’d like to buy you all a coke to get you off your tree”. Funny why Coca Cola weren’t into them using these lyrics, isn’t it?
2) Tony McCarroll’s drumming. It’s, like, really solid.
3). Noel walking offstage before the rest of the band after final track ‘I Am The Walrus’, leaving Bonehead, Guigsy et al to finish the song by themselves. Totally cool. No goodbye, no smiles, no nothing.
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4). NME’s ‘subtle’ stage branding. Wasn’t it just incredible back then?
5) Liam’s many fillings. Young man’s been on the fizzy sweets.
6) ‘Cigarettes & Alcohol’. Just check the cheeky false start at 12 minutes, before Noel abandons it and plays ‘Live Forever’ instead. When they do play Cigs, at 22 mins, the crowd reaction is amazing, with the first 20 rows going mental. Not bad considering the song wouldn’t even be released as a single until October that year.
7) Liam singing the high notes. Noel’s traditionally done the chorus on ‘Live Forever’, as well as the “I’m flyyyyying” bits on ‘…Walrus’ since pretty much forever. Except, not here: Liam tackles them instead. Voice like an angel, too.
8) The weather. Grey and overcast. Standard.
9) The banter. It’s strangely quiet for Oasis. “Is there any casualties out there then, yeah? We’re all casualties,” muses Liam at one point. “I’ve got nothing to say,” he says at another. It’s all strangely antagonistic, like they’re better than the place, and nonplussed about being there. In some ways they were, I guess. For Glastonbury, the festival which everyone approaches as if its some kind of musical haven (heaven?), their give-a-shit attitude seems weird, standoffish and supremely punk rock, like they’re bored and impatient of waiting for the world to catch up to their planet. Which is ironic, because in precisely 40 days time, when Definitely Maybe stormed to the top of the charts, they would.